Angela R. Logan, NACC President
Angela R. Logan, PhD

Angela R. Logan, PhD
St. Andre Bessette Academic Director,
Master of Nonprofit Administration

Associate Teaching Professor,
Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame

What’s Love Got To Do With (Our Sector)?

Hello! This month, inspired both by Valentine’s Day and the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the late, great Tina Turner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the age-old question: What’s love got to do with it, specifically, our sector? When I think about this question, I reflect on both my formal and informal connections to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. While my formal journey into the study of philanthropy began 20 years ago in Dr. Dwight Burlingame’s course, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector (or, as we called it, “521’), my informal journey began decades earlier… in my childhood home. There, my parents instilled in me their own version of the Muhammad Ali quote, “Service to others is the rent you pay for the room here on earth.” Except, in my parents’ case, the quote was more like, “Service is the rent you pay for your room in this house.” In DB’s class, I learned about the Promethean Myth and Alexis de Tocqueville. On Elizabeth Drive, I learned about The Good Samaritan and my parents’ roles in the US Civil Rights Movement. Dwight gave me one of the staples of our field, Giving USA. Richard and Terry gave me staples of my culture, Jet Magazine and Ebony Kids.

Although they may have shown up in different forms, in both of those spaces, I constantly interrogated the true meaning of “φιλανθρωπία:” “love of humanity.” Whether it was giving my old toys and clothes to families in need, participating in Girl Scouts, or receiving a scholarship to attend my UG alma mater, my life was marked both by the impact of my own service and by the generosity of others. When I sat in 521, I began to piece together how acts of generosity were connected across time. What inspired my Girl Scout troop leader to work with me, 25 years after her husband led my father’s troop? What role did Black churches play in supporting the formerly enslaved, like my maternal great-grandmother, and how did that support change over time, to help my mother go to college? How did the work of Black Greek Letter Organizations, the majority of which were founded in the early 1900s, influence political activism as recently as the US Presidential election of 2020?

Similar to my own experiences, our students come to our classrooms with a lifetime of firsthand knowledge and experience of “φιλανθρωπία:” their faith communities, early childhood center, club participation, scholarships to pursue their education, and “walkaround money” from loved ones have all prepared them to ask questions of us…and our sector. Our responsibility is to provide them the tools and skills necessary to embed their own experiences into the wider context of our sector, all while helping them to remember that, at the root of our work is love.

So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with administrivia and grading, remember why we do it: for the love of our students…and humanity. Because what’s love got to do with our sector? EVERYTHING!

All the best,

Angela R. Logan
Board President, NACC